Keep Your Hands Busy to Stay Cigarette Free

Part of staying tobacco-free involves managing temptations. Cravings are common, but having a plan to deal with them will help you overcome urges when they arise. One cool trick is to reduce the desire for a cigarette is keeping your hands busy. The mere act of holding something in your hand will not only take your mind off smoking, but can actually physically prevent you from picking up a cigarette.

This Monday, instead of reaching for cigarettes, make a plan for your hands. Here are some ideas for keeping your hands busy and your mind distracted:


When you feel the urge to smoke, crack into a book instead. Reading occupies your hands and keeps you entertained. Short stories and page-turners are especially good for distraction.


When your fingers start creeping towards the cigarette pack, go for the art supplies and get to doodling. Carrying around a little sketch pad and some colored pencils or charcoal is an excellent way to ensure that you’ll always have the necessary supplies for an impromptu drawing session.  There are also apps like Autodesk SketchBook or Pigment, where you can draw and color on your phone.


You can take a stress ball wherever you go. Have one sitting on your desk at home or keep it in your bag when you’re out of the house. Invest in a stress ball made of a satisfying material that you find enjoyable—sand, foam, gel, etc. Some stress balls even have inspirational and positive messages printed on them to keep you motivated. Also good for stress is a metal handgrip that you can squeeze to relieve tension and build forearm muscle.


Fidget spinners aren’t just for kids. There’s actually a whole industry of toys, gadgets, and office supplies designed for customers who welcome distraction. You’ll find relief when you play with a fidget spinner, turn a quarter, or spin a pen.


Picking up a new hobby or skill can replace the desire to smoke. Knitting, crocheting, magic tricks, building dioramas and models, or even collecting stamps, cards, or antiques can redirect your focus towards a productive cause.


Keep your fingers active by tapping them against the screen of your smart phone. Texting a friend or quit buddy is a great way to receive support, as well as keep your hands busy.